Meet the infamous Zak on ITLoW!
Anywhere else in the world, a person of the caliber of Zaheer Alam Kidvai, better known as Zak, would have been recognized as a true visionary. If you have had the chance to spend some time chatting with Zak, or you know of some of the things he has done over the years, you will no doubt understand what I mean.
Some may not view him as the epitome of success simply because he has not accumulated millions of dollars but, in his book, just making money was never what it was all about.
As he himself points out, he lives by Buckminster Fuller’s dictum:
You have to decide early, whether you want to make money or you want to make sense.
Well, Zak obviously decided he wanted to make sense. He ran away to sea when he was 17 and became a Master Mariner (which, by the way, involved a lot more study than college did).
From a Captain in the merchant navy to a Technology Consultant – the switch happened 20 years ago when Zak decided to change career tracks and began to introduce the use of Technology in Education in Pakistan, eventually pioneering New Media in this country as early as the late eighties.
He started the first New Media Department at the Hamdard Institute of Information Technology, Karachi – where New Media was taught as a subject for the first time. He opened up the minds of his students and created in them an excitement and a passion to discover and explore. He taught them that to be good technologists, an understanding of design, form and content, an understanding of how things worked, how to conceptualize solutions to problems that existed, were all very important. He got his students to question and to think rather than accept whatever he fed them in terms of knowledge. Many of us, who sat in his class as observers, wondered why we hadn’t had such a teacher when we were in school. It would certainly have made learning much more interesting and a lot more fun.
Zak is able to talk on any subject more knowledgeably than any PhD I have ever met. Of course the subject must interest him enough for him to have done indepth research on it. I have heard him converse on a variety of diverse topics from music to electronics, literature to religion, philosophy to science, photography to art, etc etc. There is nothing the man does not know. 🙂
My interview with Zak required very little effort on my part. All one has to do to get Zak started is put him in front of an audience, or as in this case – in front of a camera, and you have a show (or two)! 🙂 He is an amazing storyteller and an avid blogger. (Don’t miss the thought bubble on his t-shirt which reads “I think therefore I’m dangerous).
In this episode of ITLoW, he talks about New Media and how it has evolved in Pakistan. He takes us through the early days – the first applications we built at Enabling Technologies, the experiences, the amazing amount of fun that we had as we went through many firsts, and delivered some wonderful products. This is the first of a two part series. The next episode will run on Friday.
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